IBSA Symposium 2003/Visit to South Africa TOW--Breaking Ornithogalum dormancy

Mary Sue Ittner msittner@mcn.org
Wed, 01 Oct 2003 12:15:56 PDT
Dear All,

On this list at least Paul Tyerman and I have bemoaned the fact that some 
of our Ornithogalum dubiums choose to remain under ground in spite of our 
efforts. I think Lyn Edwards also reported on this list or the ABA list of 
having amazing blooms one year only to find the bulb had disappeared the next.

So it was with great interest that we had a conversation with Andy who is 
Rod and Rachel's partner in their tissue culture ventures. Some of you who 
order seeds from Silverhill may remember a picture in their latest catalog 
of Ornithogalums they were attempting to grow and hybridize. The picture 
was really gorgeous guaranteed to make anyone who saw it want these plants! 
Well this year a lot of them have not come up which they have found very 
frustrating as they want to sell them and if someone buys a lot of bulbs 
and they don't come up that person is not going to be happy. Andy told us 
that they were having the most trouble with their larger bulbs. Does this 
mean that if a bulb blooms really well it needs a year or more to recover 
he wonders? Should they only be selling bulbs that are a smaller size?

They are experimenting with gibberelic acid to see if this will help. Andy 
thinks that it is temperature that starts them into growth. Theirs are 
stored dry and warm and he things that it is cooler temperatures that 
initiates growth. So he wonders if you could get successive blooms by 
keeping them warm and then moving one pot at a time to a cooler place.

Anyone care to speculate on any of this? I thought Paul would be pleased to 
know that he and I are not the only two people who have this problem.

Mary Sue

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